It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
The comet is called C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring), discovered on Jan. 3, 2013 by the Australian veteran comet hunter Robert McNaught. As soon as it was announced, astronomers at the Catalina Sky Survey looked at their own data and found it in observations from Dec. 8, 2012, which helped nail down the orbit (I explain how that works in a previous article about asteroid near-misses). Extrapolating its orbit, they found it will make a very near pass of Mars around Oct. 19, 2014, missing the planet by the nominal distance of about 100,000 kilometers (60,000 miles).
Originally posted by PutAQuarterIn
I bet curiosity gets some good pics of that, right before it likely gets smashed trying.
As long as this thing stays far enough from Earth, it will be an interesting one to watch. S&F.
After adding the recent measurements, taken by Tomas Vorobjov at Kitt Peak Observatory (March 1, 2013), the distance of closest approach increased to 0.00047 AU (70 500 km). CA time is October 19, 2014, 19:09:24.48 UT. I think what we can fairly accurately estimate these parameters, before the temporary pause in the observations of this comet, due to it’s low elongation.
Initially the calculation was based on the recent observations known for me, including observations by ISON-NM observatory (Feb. 27), Martin Mašek (Feb. 27) and Tomas Vorobjov (March 1). Estimation was made on a sample of 1,000 virtual particles (clones), calculated by the Monte-Carlo method and based on the nominal orbit solution. Calculation shown what only 2 of 1,000 clones will collide with Mars, i.e. 0.2%.
Late at night, we received information what found two another archival observations (October 4, 2012) by Pan-STARRS. Now, arc of observations increased to 148 days! Based on the new data, calculations was restarted again. The collision probability decreased in 2.5 times. Neither clone from a sample of 1,000 virtual particles not collided with Mars. Final calculation is based on a sample of 10,000 clones! It shown that only 8 virtual objects will be collide with the Red Planet, i.e. probability of this event fell from 0.2% to 0.08%, but still high enough for the events of such scale. Minimal distance of close approach, according nominal orbit solution is 0.00039 AU or ~58,000 km.